I reached out to Maria after reading about her in an article that I found on Facebook. I thought she was brilliant, thoughtful, and no-nonsense. After getting to know her, she is all of these things and more. Dr. James is a straight-up riot. She cracks me up with her dry wit! I already see a life-long friendship. In between the time that she completed this interview and the time that I published… well… did I mention that she was patient as well??? lol.
What do you do and why is it important?
As The Money Scientist, I empower professionals and entrepreneurs to grow their money and build wealth by providing financial knowledge and skills. I believe financial literacy is important and necessary to manage one’s money. I founded Pocket of Money, LLC to share my knowledge and help individuals to take control of their money and live a world-class lifestyle.
What advice would you give to your 20 year-old self?
Twenty can be a hard age where money is concerned. You’re likely still in school with low cash flow, but mounting debt in student loans. At such a time you have a negative net worth. I know I did. I would have cautioned myself as a 20 year old self to not just save money but to do more investing, as well as creating a contingency plan (beyond getting a job or graduate school) to pay down my student loans.
What are three things that you know for sure?
1) Rewards need to be part of your financial system. You have to treat yourself every once in a while or you will feel deprived. Rewards don’t have to cost money, but make sure to put money aside for the rewards you want to purchase that will cost money. You won’t feel guilty if you know you have the money.
2) Wealth is attainable. As long as you make the decision that you want to start now building your wealth, you can get the resources and skills needed. Focus on growing your money and you will.
3) Money has as much power as you give it. Money is just a thing we use to barter for more products or services. There are many things that money cannot buy, which are also worth focusing on and growing. They are also needed to live your best life. We work on growing our money to achieve financial freedom and time freedom in order to have more time to focus on such things.
What is the best advice (financial, emotional, spiritual, health-related) that you have ever received? Why did that piece of wisdom resonate with you so much?
My parents always told me: You can do whatever you want. It sounds like something trivial that all parents tell their kids, but it truly made me believe that what I do depends on me. I could go as far as I wanted to go. I could do anything, I just had to decide what I wanted to do. I’ve carried that advice through obtaining a PhD and starting my own businesses. Once you understand only you stand in your own way, you learn to get out of your way! If there is something you want to do you figure out what you need to do to obtain it. Period.
What is going on in your business/career that EVERYONE should know about now? Is there a product or services that we should ALL know about?
I developed The Wealth Protocol to take private clients from their current situation with their money to a place of growth and stable wealth building. Soon I will be offering an e-course titled the Pocket of Money Master Class, which takes participants through The Wealth Protocol.
A great starter item for individuals is the Pocket of Money Grow Your Savings Kit, 6 factors for financial freedom. It will show you how to create a spending plan, a debt reduction strategy and a strategy for saving money.
Join my mailing list to hear about hot new projects that are in the works. I can’t say too much about them right now, but you’ll want to stay tuned for more information especially if you’re an entrepreneur.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
Pocket of Money, LLC has turned into a national brand. Comparing yourself to others can sometimes blind you to your own success. It took others pointing out to me that since I have clients across the country that I’m national. I was on cloud nine for the rest of the night and kept saying to myself that’s right I AM A NATIONAL BRAND. So next five years, I want to empower even more individuals to take control of their finances and grow their money. The e-courses that I mentioned will be available possibly as soon as next year.
What makes you a DreamGirl?
I’m a true DreamGirl because I’ve always followed my dreams and didn’t care if it was the status quo or not. This perhaps stems from my parents instilling in me that I could do whatever I wanted to do. When I wanted to do science I really did it. I survived getting a PhD in Cellular Molecular Medicine at one of the top universities in the country. I had my weight in academic and science gold in the form of publications. Yet, I knew and listened to myself when my dream shifted. I walked away from the bench and started Pocket of Money, LLC. Some people still look at me like I have two heads when I tell them what my degree is in or stand still for a good chat because they “just have to know my story.” I don’t regret walking away from a career in pure science (wealth attainment is a bit of a science itself). I love empowering others around finance and helping people achieve their money goals.
How do you handle setbacks? What skills, support, or personality trait do you rely on the most to help you overcome adversity?
No matter what field you’re in or how old you are, you will encounter obstacles. The most important thing is how you handle them. I love the saying you only fail when you stop trying. When I encounter an obstacle or set back I like to regroup by designing what I call a plan of attack. I gather my resources and information and write out how I can get around the obstacle in order to continue working towards my goal. It’s important to take a step back, breathe, regain your positivity then design your plan of attack and implement it. I repeat the process until I achieve the desired results.